Arizona Dreamin'

I’ve always wanted to climb at Mount Lemon.  Every since I saw that classic climbing film with Bobbi Bensman sewing up some delectable fissure on impeccable quartzy-granite, (many years ago now).  So, after spending a few days on the California Coast and nearly a week in Wonderland, AKA, J- Tree, Lydia and I packed the van and headed East.   As we crossed the boarder into AZ, one obvious thing struck our attention, the Joshua Tree’s abruptly ended and tall, Western-movie-like Cacti sprung up everywhere.  It was as if the boarder of the two states is marked by where these distinct plants grow and stop growing.  Tucson was a much nicer town than we had anticipated, I drove through it before, but never stopped.  It was clean and every person we met greeted us with what I can only describe as a sort of Canadian friendliness:)   And the air-quality seemed pretty clean for a desert city.

The next morning, we got up and I looked on Mountain Project for a climb to do.  What jumped out at us was the 4 star classic,  Steel Crazy, 5.9. 3 pitches.  So, that’s where we went, and that’s what we did.  Here’s a picture from the site that LURED us in.  Click to enlarge.

Thank you to the First Ascentionists of this climb, Mark Colby, Scott Ayers, it was very, very enjoyable.  We originally wanted to sport climb honestly, but after seeing this Fortress Feature, I just couldn’t imagine not doing it.  And if time allowed, then maybe we’d run up another classic, such as “Another Day in the Orifice”, 5.12b, but such was not the case and due to the cold and wind, we had to be back at the car before the sun went down.  Hope you enjoy some pics of our romantic day in the hills:)

Unfortunately when we arrived to the base of the ski resort the road ahead was closed.  Which another 2 miles to our approach.

Which was fine by me because I had to do some product testing with some patagonia samples and Five Ten shoes.  So the longer day was better for that, not to mention it was just a beautiful day for a hike.

The view from the “actual” parking lot.  At least there weren’t any crowds.  Just how we like it.

As she blazes a trail in search of the Fortress, Lydia floats atop the snow like an angel, and I plunge through, (no more Krispy Kreme for me).

Our first glimpse of the feature, albeit the backside.  The snowy spine from the summit was our descent, we left our bags where the tree line met the rock and hiked down with only our shoes and gear and one water bottle.  It worked out perfectly.

Lydia sticks the first crux on pitch one.

Looking up at pitch 2, looks steep!

Lyds styling one of the best 5.9’s in the world, 100 feet, steep, positive chicken head climbing, and perfectly bolted.

Still Cruising.

If you haven’t noticed, Lydia was my personal guide for the day, and did an excellent job.  Notice the featured (not to mention solid) rock.

It’s easy being cheesy.

  • William butierez

    this is awesome sonnie!! im a tucson local and work at the new climbing gym in town called ‘the bloc’, which i heard you stopped by! its great to see the lemmon getting the attention it deserves!

  • Matt M

    Awesome Sonnie! This is a classic “couples” climb. I took my wife up it when we passed through Tucson a few years ago. Same as you it was the only climb we had time to do but WELL WORTH it.

    Cheers! Thanks for the great blog!

  • That rock looks alluring indeed!